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by Abigail Van Buren

Friend Can't Talk Woman Out of Married Man's Arms

DEAR ABBY: My fiancee, "Charlene," and I plan to marry this fall. We couldn't be happier and eagerly anticipate spending our lives together. However, the wedding planning is causing tension in our families.

Charlene and I are recent college grads, struggling to pay off student loans. We are unable to afford a large, lavish wedding. After discussing this at length, we realized that neither of us wanted a big wedding in the first place. We prefer a quiet, intimate gathering, and a small ceremony would suit us both.

Our problem is, Charlene and I feel we must accommodate our large families who want to attend our wedding. We're afraid that if we don't invite everyone on both sides, feelings will be hurt.

How do we arrange for the perfect small wedding of our dreams without disappointing our extended family members? -- TRYING TO KEEP THE PEACE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

DEAR TRYING: Limit your wedding to parents, grandparents and siblings. As long as no exceptions are made, there should be no hard feelings among the extended family members.

P.S. Consider celebrating with friends and other relatives by hosting an open house a few weeks after your wedding. It needn't be anything formal -- you could serve wine and/or punch, a few simple homemade hors d'oeuvres and something sweet.